Life Lately

Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

My heart overflows with gratitude daily. I want to say a special thank you for visiting my little space on the Internet.

I posted this on my Instagram and on my Facebook, but the experience was so meaningful to me that I also wanted it published here.

November 20, 2018

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It’s crazy how a little sprinkle of Disney magic happens in the middle of an ordinary day. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little stressed these past few weeks.

Last night I randomly got to meet Irene Bedard, the voice of Pocahontas, at the premier showing of Ralph Breaks the Internet! I bought our movie tickets 🎫 the first day they were sold. When Sean, Keith, and I walked into the theater we thought we walked into the wrong one because all of the lights were on. We got to our assigned seats and found cards and goody bags and then I started checking our tickets again to make sure we were in the right spot. Irene came to introduce herself and told us she bought the whole theater! She wanted us to feel included in her party! 🎉 Irene has such a kind and beautiful soul. 🥰

This little dose of Disney magic happened right when I needed it most. I’m so grateful! These little autographed Pocahontas cards were like stepping into my childhood – I remember collecting them! Lastly, Ralph Breaks the Internet was AMAZING! As someone that works in the telecommunications industry, it made me geek out hard. 😂 It’s one of my favorite movies of 2018. 🎥🍿Let me know what you think when you go see it! 🤗

With Love

Travel & Leisure

Disney’s Castaway Cay Cabanas

Castaway Cay is pure paradise. If heaven was a place on earth, we are sure that it is Castaway Cay! It’s Disney Cruise Line’s private island and all of the Bahamian and Caribbean sailings include it as a stop on the itinerary. Some sailings even make 2 stops there. We haven’t enjoyed that type of itinerary… yet. 🙂

We’ll write another post about Castaway Cay itself later, but our very first post for our blog is dedicated to the highly coveted cabanas. Castaway Cay is an amazing experience on its own, but having a cabana elevates your experience to a completely different level.

Castaway 7

The Cabanas can be very hard to get… There are only 25 cabanas on the island. 21 are on the Family Beach and 4 are on the Serenity Bay Beach (adults only). Often times they are snatched up by Platinum Castaway Club or Concierge tiers before they are available to other cruisers. This table indicates when you’re eligible for Activity Planning Access:

First Time Cruisers Silver Castaway Club Gold Castaway Club Platinum Castaway Club & Concierge
Begins after your 1st completed cruise Begins after your 5th  completed cruise Begins after your 10th completed cruise
75 Days
prior to sailing
90 Days
prior to sailing
105 Days
prior to sailing
120 Days
prior to sailing

See Disney Cruise Line to view all the benefits of the Castaway Club.

We are currently Silver members, so we can book online activities/port adventures (aka excursions) 90 days prior to sailing. We were always curious about the cabanas, but we were put off by the high prices, which does not include taxes:

 

Family Beach Cabana Grand Family
Beach Cabana
Serenity Bay
Beach Cabana
(Adults Only)
$549 $899 $399
Includes 6 Guests Includes 10 Guests Includes 4 Guests
Additional Guest $50
per person
Additional Guest $50
per person
Additional Guest $50
per person
10 Guests maximum
per Cabana
16 Guests maximum
per  Grand Cabana
10 Guests maximum
per Cabana

We wanted to make our January 2017 trip extra memorable – I was turning 30 years old and we were about to fulfill our Disney Goal of sailing on all 4 DCL ships. We also wanted to see if it was worth the hype and premium price.

So 91 days prior to our sailing, we logged into the Disney Cruise Line portal at 7:55 pm (Alaska is 4 hours behind Eastern time, which is the timezone the website operates on) and I kept refreshing the Internet page like a maniac. THEN IT HAPPENED. OMG – CABANA #9 IS AVAILABLE! I didn’t even waste any extra brain power to see if other cabanas were open – I don’t think I ever clicked so quickly in my life to secure something. I felt so relieved and incredibly lucky that we got one! I imagine that this is the feeling shoe collectors get when they get to buy the design and size they want, haha.

I was stoked about having a cabana on the Family Beach, even though we weren’t traveling with any kids. You get a lovely view of the ship (you can’t see it from Serenity Bay) and it’s near the hustle and bustle of everything.

There are 3 reasons why we think we were able to get the cabana:

  1. Our sail date was in January, aka an off-peak season.
  2. We sailed on a smaller ship, the Disney Magic. It’s smaller than the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream ships, so we had less people to compete with.
  3. We have incredible planning skills! We logged in RIGHT when our booking window opened.

If getting a cabana is high on your priority list and you’re not sailing Concierge or a Platinum Castaway Club member, our best advice is to follow the 3 steps above. If you aren’t able to get one, we suggest to check from time to time since people change plans. If you still can’t get one, don’t fret – you’ll still have a great time on Castaway Cay!

What is Included?

  • Private Beach Retreat – you have your own strip of the beach!
  • Comfortable and ample seating
  • Fresh water shower
  • Towels – you don’t have to grab one as you disembark the ship, there are plenty in your cabana
  • Chilled towels – so refreshing to use on a hot day
  • Hammock
  • Unlimited bottled water and soda
  • Fresh fruit and snacks
  • Coppertone SPF products
  • Snorkel Equipment (Family Beach)
  • Floats and Tubes
  • Bike Rental (1 hour) – 1 hour seems short, but it was plenty of time for us to ride around and bike to the lookout tower
  • Sand Toys (Family Beach)
  • Safe – an extra level of security to store important belongings
  • Power outlet – so convenient to be able to recharge your camera and other electronic devices
  • Fan inside the cabana – perfect when it’s too toasty
  • Privacy – the cabanas may look like they’re close together, however they are angled perfectly so you feel like you’re there by yourself

 

Castaway Cay
This was hanging on our stateroom door the evening before Castaway Cay. Inside was a pamphlet about what was included with the Cabana as well as information about the island. The envelope also enclosed our wristbands.
On the morning of our big day, we ate breakfast and then disembarked the Disney Magic. We walked to the Cabana check in kiosk and a golf cart whisked us away to our sanctuary. Our cabana hosts were warm and welcoming and gave us a tour of our little slice of paradise.
Our view was so magical! I was stunned by how post card perfect our view of the ship was. It felt unreal to be able to experience it. Our time spent there is definitely one of our most cherished memories together.

 

Castaway Cay 9
The entrance to Disney’s Cabanas at Castaway Cay.
Castaway Cay 2
Our fridge was well stoked with chilled towels, bottled water, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and a lovely plate of fruit.
Castaway Cay 3
I think the presentation would have been better if these snacks were in a smaller basket.
Castaway Cay 4
Sorry guys, drinks are an additional cost. They also have drink packages available. With a press of a button, your cabana host will come to take your order.
Castaway Cay 10
Cookies BBQ on Castaway Cay is only a short stroll away.
Castaway Cay 11
We brought our lunches back to our cabana. Look at that view of the Disney Magic!
Castaway Cay 8
A nice supply of tubes and floats ready for your use.
Castaway Cay 1
Such a MAGICal view! See what I did there?
Castaway Cay 6
These chaise lounges were so comfortable.
Castaway Cay 5
Remember to use sunscreen!
Castaway Cay 16
The private beach for the cabanas.
Castaway Cay 17
The Family Beach/non cabana side!
Castaway Cay 14
Sean and I’s thrones. Lol!
Castaway Cay 13
Another view from the hammock.
Castaway Cay 12
Enjoyed a lovely nap on the hammock.
Castaway Cay 22
The view from the Observation Tower.
Castaway Cay 21
1 hour was plenty of time to see around the island.
Castaway Cay 20
I wish I took more pictures of the inside of our cabana! There is also a curtain on the right, so you can have privacy to change into/out of swimwear. Another thing to note – there is no bathroom in the cabana. The restrooms are just a short stroll to get to though.
Castaway Cay 19
Look who we found!
Castaway Cay 18
Jenn took this awesome picture of us!

Was it Worth it?

From a value standpoint, no. $549 for just the 3 of us, not including taxes, was a hard bullet to bite. The cabana rental was incredibly convenient, but it isn’t necessary to have a great time at Castaway Cay.

From a WORK HARD, PLAY HARD, RELAX HARD standpoint, we scream that it’s ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!

 

With Love